Damien Kurek

MP Damien Kurek reflects on newly-released federal budget

‘Further, they recycle old promises they have consistently failed to deliver on’

Local MP Damien Kurek is concerned the recent federal budget shows a troubling tendency to dip extensively into the debt pool.

“When it comes to the fiscal situation in our country, there is a troubling ambiguity as to where this truly leaves Canadians at,” he said. “If your only metric for success is spending money, then you are really missing the point. How effective have these programs been?

“Have they been under-used, or have they ended up moving the economy in the direction that is required?

“A lot of those questions remain after what we had hoped would be a document that would provide some clarity. It appears the plan for financing Canada’s short, medium and long-term debt is to simply make sure they spend as little as possible on massive amounts of debt,” he added, referring to low interest rates that make borrowing that much more alluring.

“It’s like taking a whole bunch of debt from your credit card and moving it to a line of credit. But you are still spending on that credit card. I think that troubling trend has been confirmed in this and I would note that the Prime Minister even wrote in the finance minister’s mandate letter that she was to avoid creating permanent new spending.

“Well, in this budget we see a number of programs that are online to be massive and long-term spending items for the government. So there is obviously a disconnect,” he said.

“Canadians deserve certainty, and to know that money is being spent in a way that respects their dollars and respects future generations that have to pay back finance dollars, too.”

Kurek noted that the government also recycled old promises they have failed to deliver on in the past, and that they also neglected to assist the oil and gas sector.

“For a long-awaited budget, there’s a lack of hope and optimism for what will be the future of our country.”

And further to the massive spending was a doubling down on government program expansion, even giving themselves a hundred-billion-dollar slush fund for ‘green projects’ with limited accountability, said Kurek.

“It’s the long-term, institutional growth that has questionable benefits for Canadians.”

The level of debt could suddenly worsen significantly as well should interest rates go up or there be another economic crisis, he said.

“When you have to depend on interest rates to survive, whether that’s as a household or a nation, no matter how you slice it, that is not a good position to be in,” he said.

“I would suggest that all Canadians are worse off, and all Canadians are also worse off when Ottawa tells provinces how they should or shouldn’t operate. I think that double whammy will have massive impacts in our country’s future. The basis of our federation was based on respecting different jurisdictions which have different ideas and different priorities.

“There are national responsibilities and there are regional or provincial areas of responsibility. It is absolutely key to respect those things,” he said.

Kurek added that there is an attitude that suggests there simply aren’t any consequences to borrowing money.

“It’s patently false, and at some point we will have to address the fiscal position. If we don’t, we will be in a place where there are very, very difficult decisions that will have to be made.”

Meanwhile, according to the Alberta Chambers of Commerce President and CEO Ken Kobly, “We’ve been waiting two years, and the biggest surprise is the scale of projected deficit and debt — it’s quite alarming to say the least.”

He noted that continued support for business as Canadians face a potential third wave of variant strains and the investment in training and retraining are positives.

“Our members also support expanding broadband and refinancing the national trade corridors fund as much of our economy is rural and depends on moving goods and services,” he said.

“We were somewhat surprised there was no commitment to overhaul the tax system given the emphasis on the digital economy, an underutilized opportunity for many small businesses. Without tax modernization, our entire economy will remain tethered to the past by a clunky, costly code that was last reviewed in earnest before touch tone phones were invented,” said Kobly.

“With over 750 pages, this budget is enormous in more ways than spending. What we know at this point of our review is there appears to be something in there for almost everybody, unless you value thrift and savings. In that case you’re out of luck.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta reports 2,271 new COVID-19 cases, Red Deer cases rise slightly

Across Alberta, there are 666 people in hospital with COVID-19, including 146 in the ICU

Alberta Health Services locked the Whistle Stop Cafe at Mirror on Wednesday morning after owner Christopher Scott refused to comply with health orders.
Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff
AHS shuts down Whistle Stop Cafe for defying health orders

Health inspectors and RCMP locked doors early Wednesday

Premier Jason Kenney (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is seen at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. An Alberta woman in her 50s has died from a rare blood clot disorder after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Alberta confirms blood clot disorder death linked to AstraZeneca vaccine

Both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been linked to VITT in a very small number of cases

Premier Jason Kenney says with COVID-19 numbers still rising, the province’s health-care system will be tested in the coming weeks. (photography by Winston Pon/Office of the Premier)
‘Please stay home’: Kenney imposes new COVID-19 restrictions

New measures will be in place for at least three weeks

FILE - In this March 3, 2021, file photo, a vial of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is displayed at South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine can be given to adults 30+ who can’t wait for mRNA: NACI

Panel says single shot vaccine can be especially useful for populations unable to return for second shot

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

A dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination is prepared at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine approved for kids 12 to 15 years old in Canada

The vaccine was previously authorized for anyone at least 16 years of age or older

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to speakers appearing by video during a news conference in Ottawa on Tuesday May 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada will align policy on ‘vaccine passports’ with international allies: Trudeau

Trudeau says Canadians could begin travelling outside the country again by summer

Ranging from 11 to 20 in age and representing seven provinces and one territory, the plaintiffs are appealing a Supreme Court judge’s decision to dismiss their lawsuit last fall. (David Suzuki Foundation)
15 youths not backing down in their fight to sue Ottawa over climate change inaction

The group has filed an appeal after their lawsuit was struck down by a Federal Court judge last fall

A 2021 census questionnaire. (Black Press Media file photo)
2021 census responses due May 11

By law, every household must complete a census questionnaire

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi attends a senior’s home in Calgary on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, amid a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Nenshi says he’s frustrated to hear that tickets given to people for breaching COVID-19 public health orders are being thrown out in the courts.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘Incredibly frustrating:’ Calgary mayor wants courts to uphold COVID-19 measures

Large groups without masks have been gathering in Calgary public spaces in protest of health measures

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
NACI advice on ‘preferred vaccines’ for COVID-19 sparks confusion, anger

Panel said that people who can wait for an mRNA vaccine should do so

Michael Bonin, 20, from Alberta, was discovered deceased on Peers Creek Forest Service Road north of Hope on April 20, 2017. (Black Press Media)
1 of 3 accused in 2017 murder of Alberta man pleads guilty, sentenced to life in prison

Joshua Fleurant pleaded guilty in a Kelowna courtroom to the second-degree murder of Michael Bonin

Most Read